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SPF & SPS 2013 • 2010 • 2007
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User Profile Properties

Select Edit Web Part from the PeopleZen Web Part menu and in the settings tool-pane, you will find the User Profile Properties section directly underneath Display Style:

Note: the information given below applies for the most part to Data Sources with the Connection Provider set to Farm User Profiles, and to a lesser extent, Site User Accounts (People and Groups). Even if you intend to use another data source such as Active Directory or your own custom SQL-based user database, the basic principles illustrated herein can be extrapolated to these (also with the additional aid of the documented Data Source settings for these Connection Providers).

About SharePoint User Profile Properties

Detailed information belonging to your user profiles in SharePoint is stored in so-called User Profile Properties. They contain "people data" such as their Birthday, Hire Date, Department, Skills, Past Projects etc. SharePoint (Server) 2007 ships with over 40 default properties, SharePoint (Server) 2010 & 2013 with over 60. You can of course create your own additional custom properties. You can allow or require your users to manually populate their properties on their own profile page directly in SharePoint, and/or you can automatically populate properties during your User Profile Imports from LDAP-compatible directory services such as Active Directory.

It is crucial to note that PeopleZen only displays user profiles and properties already stored inside your SharePoint environment (or your selected non-SharePoint Data Source) — how they get there, how and where they are stored, how they are updated all depends on your SharePoint or systems configuration and is well outside the scope of PeopleZen, the display engine.

To set up or review your user profile properties and your user profile imports from AD or another directory service:

  • in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007: go to Central Administration and underneath the Shared Services Administration link in the quick launch, click your default Shared Service Provider (SSP), often called SharedServices1. On its Home page, underneath the User Profiles and My Sites section, click User profiles and properties.
  • in SharePoint Server (SPS) 2013 & 2010: go to Central Administration / Application Management / Manage Service Applications. If there already is a User Profile Service Application listed, click through to it; otherwise, add one via the New or Connect menus in the Service Applications ribbon tab.
  • In Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and SharePoint Foundation (SPF) 2013 / 2010, you can add custom user properties via the List Settings page of the User Information List in a Web Site, accessible via the Settings menu on the People and Groups page. There is no out-of-box user profiles import from AD.

Displaying User Profile Properties in PeopleZen

In the User Profile Properties section pictured above, simply enter the properties to be shown in the multi-line text area, one per line. Always include in each line a colon [ : ] delimiter, otherwise the property will remain hidden from the listings (but can still be selected for interactive end-user ad-hoc re-grouping or re-tabbing).

The easier and least error-prone way for adding user profile properties to this text box is to select them from the drop-down menu just below it, labeled Add known user profile property.

Each user profile property contained in this text box is represented by a line containing a colon [ : ] delimiter. Before the colon, the internal property name is given, for example SPS-Birthday. After the colon, specify the desired localized display name shown to end users, for example Birthday. The part after the colon can be anything you wish, the part before the colon must be the valid internal name of an existing SharePoint user profile property (otherwise you'll see a Property Not Defined: [WrongPropName]. An administrator must create this property in the Profile Administration tool message).

If you do not specify a colon delimiter and a display name, the user profile property will not be shown in your people listings. To show the property values but no property name, use the special display name ___ (three underscores).

How user names and profile pictures are displayed (or hidden)

User names and profile pictures are also stored in User Profile Properties, but PeopleZen shows them already by default without having to specify them in the User Profile Properties text box described above. PeopleZen treats these as "special properties" and you can customize them in the Miscellaneous section.

  • The pictures are displayed directly rather than showing their textual URL path that is stored inside the corresponding PictureURL user profile property. They also link to the user profile page (unless this has been customized in the Miscellaneous section).
  • The user name displayed depends on which user profile properties have been populated. If the FirstName and LastName properties are filled out, those two values are shown, otherwise the PreferredName, AccountName and then UserName property are being probed in that order. The name also links to the user profile page (unless this has been customized in the Miscellaneous section).